Is your heart caught in a cycle of saying “I am sorry” over and over from a mess you made with your children? I ministered to a mom who said with tears streaming down her face, “I will beg my son for forgiveness for the rest of my life.” I told her that needed to stop and that I wanted to help her resolve that once and for all. While the world would tell her she messed up and made poor choices, I see it differently. She is a product of choices that her parents and grandparents made. She did not have the language or tools to discern what was going on in her world. She needed drugs and alcohol to escape the torment and pain. I don’t think that is a bad mom. I think that is a mom who needs help becoming a Daughter. When we make messes with our children (we all do) and partner with the accuser, we wallow in guilt and condemnation. We then come to our children in a bent over, broken, pathetic, insecure way that only makes THEM feel unsafe. We are teaching them that mistakes are fatal. We need to be modeling for them grace, forgiveness, and connection even when we are at our worst. I coached this mom on how to forgive herself, and then I taught her how to minister to her son’s pain. Yes, he suffered heartbreak because of her choices (he was taken away when she was in jail), but IN THAT PLACE is where we get to show them who Jesus is. I coached her on how to begin to have conversations with her son that mistakes do not equal rejection or abandonment. Just like he gets time outs for his choice, mom had hers, but Jesus never left him. This mom who is becoming a Daughter just got reunited with her son full-time! If you think about them, pray for them as they continue to walk this out – together!
I AM SORRY…
God woke me early and revealed something deep within my heart. By the time I was done, I was in complete awe over the revelations and His love that redeems every part of my story. Hours later, a couple came to me for parent coaching. When I asked what they hoped to get out of our time together, the dad began to explain the EXACT same situation with his daughter that God had spoken to me about hours earlier.
I want you to see this – God is sufficient to redeem all things. It is who He is, but how GLORIOUS is it that we get to partner with Him in our parenting so that we can help our children deal with owies IN childhood, so that hurts don’t become adult-sized woundedness, lies don’t become adult-sized strongholds, and offenses don’t become adult-sized bitterness. KUDOS to this dad for doing the hard things so that his daughter doesn’t need to reap the fruit of it for years.
We don’t want to use our parental authority to control our children to keep our childhood wounds comfortable. We want to use the way our children trigger us to get healed so that we can respond to them as a loving parent.
A while back, the Lord told me to pray for a leader who was enduring much. I went to pray for them and felt this incredible weight over them, like the shoulder pads of a football player, except they were made of steel. I know my prayers are powerful, but the weight felt so heavy it was unmovable. I went back to the Lord and asked for strategy since He is the one who told me to pray. And I heard Him say this, “You are right, Lisa, the weight is too heavy to lift it off of them, so I want you to pray that they come out from under it,” and I saw this person duck down, move to the right and stand up straight again like coming out from under a bridge. I laughed at the ease and simplicity of dealing with the weight. God ALWAYS has a strategy for dealing with a trial – always! Go ahead and give it a try.
Gather the family and talk about what burdens everyone is facing. Maybe it is a test at school, issues at work, conflict in the home, or unique circumstances. Have everyone stand and picture the weight on their shoulders. Now have them duck, turn and stand up straight again. We can move out from under the weight of what consumes us. Every time I do this, I breathe easier and lighter.
As someone who endured profound emotional and mental isolation in childhood, being alone long term is not healthy for me. I know my capacity and take active steps to make sure I am in community. When I feel the most weary, I realize it is because I have come under LIES of isolation. I have to actually reset my mind and heart back to His TRUTH. Let me share them with you in hopes they will align you with His heart and break off discouragement.
**I break agreement with the lie I am alone.
**I break agreement with the lie that I can’t be in community right now.
**I break agreement with the lie that isolation is my duty.
**I break agreement with the lie that says interaction is wrong.
**I break agreement with the lie that people are a danger.
**I break agreement with the lie that I have to fear others.
**I break agreement with the lie that others are a threat.
**I DECLARE that God designed me to interact with others.
**I DECLARE that I am called to impact others.
**I DECLARE that my need to be heard and seen is a part of my wiring.
**I DECLARE that longing for people is healthy.
**I DECLARE that I have the mind of Christ in the midst of the storm.
**I DECLARE that my Father leads me in all situations.
**I DECLARE that my emotional needs are valued and valid.
**I DECLARE that I am not in an emotional or relational time-out.
Ask Jesus, “Jesus, will You please show me the strategy to connect with people today?”
Celebrating those ‘look how far I have come’ moments is a sacred place between a loving Father and a trusting child. Why not carve out some intentional time today to just praise and thank Him for being such an incredible Author of YOUR story. Stop and celebrate how far He has taken you.
Children with the love language of gifts are often viewed as materialistic. They are not really wanting the gift itself, but your love spoken through the gift. It is communicating the message, “I was thinking of you.” A Hershey’s kiss, balloon, or note on a gum wrapper has profound meaning to a person with this language. They look at your object as a token or symbol of being loved.
Here are some creative ways to speak their language: **Make birthdays and holidays a huge deal. **Bring home small tokens from shopping trips (“I bought your favorite fruit”). **Celebrate milestones such as losing a tooth, getting good grades, overcoming a challenge. **Tuck notes in their lunch bag, under their pillow, or in their laundry. **Give them a dollar or two to spend at the store – just because. **Cook their favorite meal. **Pick out a rock or flower on your walk and return home with it. **Buy a package of Hershey kisses and intentionally play a game of spontaneously putting them where they can discover them. It took me a month to empty the bag, but she felt so loved and seen. **Keep a small stash of inexpensive gifts. When you see your child struggling, working through hurts, or just having a hard day pull something out.
I must note that the worst thing you can do for this person is to be flippant about it. Thoughtless gift-giving is like a harsh tone for a word of affirmation person. If your heart is not in it, you might want to hold off on giving it. Oftentimes they are givers of gifts too and like to leave notes, save souvenirs from trips, parties, and outings (like the napkin from the party or an empty container from the Tic Tacs that you bought them). When they give gifts of any kind to others, help them to make the connection between their action and speaking love, such as, “I love that you want to tell your sister you love her by leaving her that note.” “Thank you for loving me by giving me that flower.” Again, the focus is not on the item/gift; it is on the heart need and communication of love. Learn to value lavishing on others as it models a side of our Father, the Creator of the universe who owns the storehouse and lavishes richly on His children. Often when people were raised with a poverty spirit or parents who had fear over finances, this language can be challenging to speak. However, God uses this language in our children to re-align our thoughts and heart back to Him. I get this every time we talk about gifts – “So that means I just have to buy them whatever they want?” Of course not! But it does mean you would be wise to see what they are really asking for. They are saying, “Will you show me you love me by buying this for me?” In those moments, the key to their heart is discovering how you can tell them “No” in a way that still fills their heart.
An offense is when we feel we have been wronged and hold onto it. While an offense can be truth-based (the person really was rude, mean, or violated our rights), when we hold onto it, the poison harms us, not the one who did the offense. I played the ‘hot potato’ game with the children and explained that the hot burning potato was the ‘offense.’ Just because someone throws it at you doesn’t mean you have to catch it, hold onto it and carry it around with you. I encouraged them to get it off their hands (heart) as fast as they can, just like a hot potato! The cool thing about an offended child is that, in most cases, there hasn’t been time for it to develop into bitterness or a bitter root of judgment. When a child is offended by someone else, they will clearly show you, as an offended child will not speak well nor desire to be around that person.
Your body isn’t designed to carry the weight. For those of us in Redding enduring the crisis of the Carr Fire, we are divided into two camps – those who are givers and those who are receivers. Many are dealing with unimaginable loss. For those who haven’t lost their homes or loved ones, we are givers of our time, resources, energy, ministry, and helping hands. We are listening to the stories one by one, over and over, of the trauma, heartbreak, and tears. God never designed our bodies to hold onto the weight of other people’s pain. It can become extremely unhealthy if we are carrying the weight of their stories and not following through with giving them back to Him. I am hearing over and over that people who lost nothing are feeling stressed, depressed and lethargic. Yet, these are the ones who are walking side by side with those who are in pain.
One friend broke out in hives so bad she went to Urgent Care. When the second bout came, I knew she was holding onto emotions that needed to be released. I encouraged her to get the kids situated and go in her room alone with Jesus and process her heart, the pain of the stories, the fear, and deep sadness. She wept! And the hives left. God wants us to walk in compassion for those suffering, but He does not want us to carry it. Out of love and compassion, He wants us to put those burdens back on Him. When I walk or talk with someone who has endured something difficult, I have two choices. I can carry their pain as if it happened to me, or I can cry with them but remain true to my reality (the loss didn’t happen to me) and take their stories to the throne and intercede for them out of compassion. If you are in the role of being the giver to someone who is walking through challenging situations, your strength is found in putting the weight and needs back on the only One who is designed to carry our burdens.
Yes, there is a better way to parent our children than yelling but you do not need more of God so that you stop yelling. You need more of God so that He can comfort and heal those places in your heart so that you do not need to yell anymore.